In this time-flashing novel of a relationship, author Holly Schindler creates a uniquely crafted and relayed story of two people and the testament of love. 

Sharon and husband, Michael, have shared a life and marriage together for nearly as long as Sharon has been an adult. As she gazes upon a portrait of herself and her husband on her studio wall, Sharon wonders — what happened? Where is that happy couple? Where did they go?

In the background of the black and white artistic photo, taken by a young inexperienced photographer, is a Fairyland, a town far away by miles and memory. 

Sharon wonders where all the meaning has gone. Has it disappeared like the old photograph on the studio wall? Was it just a still moment which can never be revived? The novel flashes back to the beginning of Sharon and Michael. A time when others would stop them in their tracks to admire their adoration, their love, their bit of seemingly magic when they were together. 

Schindler’s storytelling in “The Art of the Kiss” is slowly and carefully built, brick by brick and memory by memory until it creates a life as a whole. It examines life at its core, relationships at their best and often their worst, tugging at heartstrings and giving way to deep thoughts of the new, the old and the now. Ultimately, it is a modern fairy tale retold for the modern age. A story of the passage of time, the changes that inevitably come with age and the beauty of youth. 

It is a particular way of novel-building — an omniscient narrator who sets a scene and issues the story bit by bit. Michael and Sharon are well-drawn and in-depth, likable yet real to life. The reader sees each side from all angles, giving the story a different twist. It is conversations and thoughts, ideas and memories, much like journal entries or diary notations. Pieces from postcards or greeting cards.

With its small town setting, likable characters and lovely narrative, “The Art of the Kiss” is both nostalgic and artistic, a perfect read for the summer that takes a beach read a step above and beyond. Schindler’s work has received starred reviews in Booklist and Publishers Weekly, has won silver and gold medals in ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year and the IPPY Awards and has been featured on Booklist’s Best First Novels for Youth and School Library Journal’s What’s Hot in YA, and has been a PW Pick of the Week.

“When had it started? The same way a rut starts for anyone. At the exact moment this man and this woman had succumbed to a comfortable rhythm: the swimming back door of their days the routine comings and goings, the divvying up of the morning sink and knowing whose turn it was to pick up the lemon for the tea, and at the end of they day, a shared meal and scraped dishes and the flicker of the blue TV light through the living room.”